BCHighways

  • iOS
  • Android
  • Public Sector

The BCHighways app makes getting around BC hassle-free. It consolidates DataBC and other open source libraries to provide real-time information about highways.

Developed for

The Need

While driving through Alberta on the winding Banff-Windermere highway, FreshWorks CEO Samarth Mod and COO Rohit Boolchandani found themselves caught in an unexpected three hour traffic jam. They say the fun of adventure is in its unpredictability, but as Rohit and Sam stared up at the rugged rockies carving the horizon, their detour became a moment of decisiveness. The next few months would become dedicated to a new FreshWorks passion project ~ the BC Highways mobile app.

Packed with a variety of real-time features including major highway events, weather reports, traffic cams, and more, the BC Highways app is the easiest way for you to explore your province safely and efficiently, leaving more time to simply soak up the beauty of our majestic coast.

The Beginning

In early December 2015, FreshWorks was subcontracted by Sierra Systems to work on some UX aspects of the BC Developer Exchange, a government initiative to encourage the tech sector and public sector to join forces in the pursuit of innovation of revolutionary technology.

It was through this experience that FreshWorks was first exposed to the DriveBC open API, where we discovered a wide range of publicly accessible information regarding many prominent provincial highways. With this information, we were ready to begin work on one of our earliest apps. The BC Highways app was not only unique in the sense of its origin, but also in its purpose: we wanted to build this app not for a client, but for ourselves, and the province we were hungry to establish ourselves in.

In just two short months FreshWorks produced a proof of concept that caught the attention of several local media outlets, as well as earned us a meet and greet with Honourable Minister Todd Stone. Since then the app has only grown, with new features and fresh new design styles to improve UI/UX and add flavour to your BC Highways experience.

The Work

Initially, the game plan for the BC Highways app was to demo a proof of concept and (hopefully) receive some funding from the government to complete the project. After some consideration however, we decided it would be better to develop the entire suite of apps for free and at our own pace (in just under two months) to get it out there and in the hands of fellow British Columbians as quickly as we could, without compromising on quality.

FreshWorks spent time interacting with the app’s target audience (truckers, drivers, BC MTICS and the BC MOTI team) in order to unearth the plethora of features that would provide value add for our users. After its release in September 2016, we saw a serious increase in downloads and usage after a fantastic press release from BC Gov News. Since we were the first tech company to develop and launch an app using the open data available through the Dev Exchange initiative, we faced a flurry of media coverage including articles by the Daily Hive, BC Gov News, Cantech letter, and the Nelson Daily.

The Features

Major Highway Events

Users have access to a feed of real-time provincial highway related events relevant to their current location including road closures, planned work, extreme weather conditions, and more.

Maps

Users can view a variety of major provincial highways events indicated by different markers from a birds-eye view, distributed across a map of BC.

Icons are used in both the iOS and Android app to signify different types of events including construction, incidents, weather conditions, and traffic cameras. Magnifying glasses with numbers indicate a user’s ability to zoom in closer and view collective events, the amount of which is specified by the number in the magnifying glass icon. Red magnifying glasses, indicate the presence of an incident.

Delays & Notifications

Users can combat unsuspected border delays by accessing a list of BC/US border delays for both commercial vehicles and regular travellers, at a variety of BC/US border crossing locations.

Analytics 

We use tools to anonymously track the app’s usage. We keep track of all key parameters of app’s performance like DAUs, MAUs, crash status and usage time. This helps us refine the app without compromising on privacy.

Technologies Used

The BCHighways app relies on live information from Open Data BC and was built using Objective-C and RxJava.

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